Christianity Crucifying the Constitution
The ‘Catholic League’, as well as ‘In God We Trust’, have made their contempt for the American Constitution, and specifically the First Amendment, abundantly clear. Their demand for continued supremacy and political power, coupled with their intolerance of views or beliefs opposing or divergent to their own, has fueled a debate about their continued preferential status and treatment. In statements earlier this week (1), both Bishop Council Nedd and Bill Donohue, leaders, respectively, of the organizations, criticized and insulted both the White House, including President Obama and his administration, as well as the Secular Coalition of America, for having a non-binding, non-policy making, conversation. The mere attendance at the White House of non-Christian, non-religious, representatives of an organization, was too much for them to accept.
Just over a week ago, members of the Secular Coalition of America met with Tina Tchen, the director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, and representatives from the Justice and Health and Human Services departments . The secular coalition, led by executive director Sean Faircloth, a former Maine state legislatoris comprised of Secular Humanists, agnostics and atheists.
The agenda for the meeting was threefold. (2)
1/ That all children have access to necessary medical treatment regardless of their parents religious beliefs and that faith based childcare services be held to the same health and safety requirements as all other such services in the community.
2/ That secular, agnostic and atheist members of the military have the same protection as members of minority religions in the face of systemic Christian proselytizing and discrimination.
3/ That alternatives to government funded faith based initiatives, that alienate those of no or different belief systems, and subject those needing service to religious proselytizing, be considered.
The President was not to attend the meeting, nor were any policy formulations or decisions to be made. The meeting was simply an audience with members of the administration to express the views and concerns of 16% of the American population.(3)
None of the items on the agenda demand, or even request, the inclusion of the groups practices or beliefs as public policy or law. None of the secular coalition’s points for discussion require the adherence to any theology or sectarian doctrine. None of the points of discussion were aimed at imposing any belief system onto the policies and laws of the United States. All of the points were aimed at protecting those who are either too young to chose for themselves, or have chosen differently, from religion’s intolerance, doctrinal dictates, discrimination, and proselytizing. The secular coalition was simply asking that the protections afforded by the First Amendment, be upheld.
What was asked for was equal rights for all individuals, their belief systems or world views, and protection from any religion imposing its rules on others. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution‘s establishment clause prohibits the establishment of a national religion by Congress or the preference of one religion over another.(4)
Adherence to the First Amendment is all that was requested. There was no assault on any religion. There was no request to repeal, or infringe on, the guaranteed rights of any religion. There was no defamatory rhetoric used regarding this meeting, by the Secular Coalition, against religion.
In their press release, the Secular Coalition stated, “We are very pleased that the Obama administration is affording us this opportunity to present our positions on issues of high importance, issues of freedom and fairness that affect every American, regardless of belief,” said Secular Coalition for America Executive Director Sean Faircloth. “Our Founders knew that there was no place in American government for the privileging of religion, or of one belief over another, and that will be a central theme in our interaction with the White House.”
The response from Christian groups, on the other hand, was anything but tolerant, or even civil.
“It is one thing for Administration to meet with groups of varying viewpoints, but it is quite another for a senior official to sit down with activists representing some of the most hate-filled, anti-religious groups in the nation,” says In God We Trust’s Chairman Bishop Council Nedd. He continues, “President Obama seems to believe that it is a good idea to have a key senior aide plan political strategy with people who believe faith in God is a disease. Some of the people in this coalition believe the world would be better off with no Christians and no Jews and they aren’t shy about it. The fact that this meeting is happening at all is an affront to the vast majority of people of all faiths who believe in God.”
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, said the meeting provided a “definitive answer” about the administration’s stance towards religion. ”People of faith, especially Christians, have good reason to wonder exactly where their interests lie with the Obama administration,” Donohue said in a statement. “Now we have the definitive answer. In an unprecedented move, leaders of a presidential administration are hosting some of the biggest anti-religious zealots in the nation.” (7)
Fear and defensiveness permeates the Christian response. Their high level of societal control was called into question. From the perspective of the religious, what non-theists represent is far more frightening than any opposing theology. The challenge represented by non-theists is a greater threat than any gun, bomb, sword or tank. Religions seem to thrive and even strengthen with war, conflict and martyrdom. They have no defense against the peaceful challenge of rational thinking.
This is one thing that unites the religious regardless of their creed. There is one thing of fundamental importance to their existence that they all share. They share the need for other’s to accept their tenets with unquestioning faith. They need to protect belief in that which can be neither observed nor proven. They cannot address each other on the fundamental veracity of their beliefs. They are unable to challenge each others credibility or legitimacy without challenging their own. They all suffer from the same fundamental and insurmountable weakness. To this end they will profess to be the stalwart champions of religious tolerance while locked at an impasse of contradictory and often diametrically opposed doctrine. As a result, even more than each other, they fear the non-theists. While religions may compete with each other for followers, territories, and wealth, they cannot threaten each other’s very existence as non-theism and rational thought can. While they may inflict financial and territorial losses on each other, rational thought has the potential to relegate them to the realm of mythology. The only perceived threat to their existence is rational thought and therefore they make effort to disenfranchise, disempower and discredit.
It is this fear, this realization of the vulnerability of theistic paradigms, that fuels the inappropriate and irrational aggression toward non-theists, as exemplified by Nedd and Donohue, and causes Christendom to continuously violate the first amendment. Considering their tenuous position, the perception of non-compliant non-theists as a threat is understandable. The potentially apocalyptic impact of rational thought, peaceful non-compliance, and judicious intolerance of religious delusions, makes desperate measures, born of reactionary insecurity, understandable. Understandable but neither acceptable or legal.
Christianity in America has enjoyed, in violation of the First Amendment, preeminent and preferential status. Christian organizations have not done this simply by their numbers, which is precisely the kind of exploitation by a majority the First Amendment was designed to protect against, but because of their flagrant and successful attempts at insinuating themselves into politics and the legislative process. The fact that Christian organizations and churches have become overtly political organizations and political action committees, while enjoying tax exempt status, only compounds the affront to the American people and their Constitution.
Without proposing any assault on religion, or any new rules, this needs to be corrected. There is no need for new rules. The First Amendment must be adhered to and respected. The results of not doing so will be disastrous to American society. Religions can not be allowed to require anything from anyone who is not an adherent to their faith. Religious doctrine and dogma cannot be the basis for any law, policy, legislation or governmental procedure. It may, simply by coincidence, be in agreement with the law, or vice versa, but it cannot be the basis. Any status, access, influence or inclusion enjoyed by one religion, must be available to all religions, belief systems, and world views.
The First Amendment exists for the protection of individuals to practice their own religion as well as the protection of American society from religion. The failure of strict enforcement will invite all religions to demand the same generous latitude, political involvement, educational influence and untouchable status afforded Christian interests, organizations and institutions. After all, the First Amendment is clear about the equal status of religions. Unless Americans are willing to start compromising with Sharia Law(8) they may want to reconsider the carte blanche often afforded Christendom.
The United States of America is a secular country and its Constitution is a secular document. American Christendom has been allowed to violate the parameters of the First Amendment for far too long and must now be reigned in to compliance. The important point to remember is that religions exists within American society, not the other way around.
(8) – http://www.shariah.net/
Editor’s Note – Secular Sunday is part of the Progressive Unity Project on News Junkie Post. Each day of the week, look forward to a fresh article written by an expert on a variety of subjects.